The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by the Huber Motorsport customer team will take up the 50th edition of the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring from the ninth grid spot. Nico Menzel (Germany) achieved the fastest lap time with 8:11.928 minutes at the wheel of a GT3 car from Weissach during Friday’s Top Qualifying. The identical ca. 368 kW (500 PS) 911 from Toksport WRT takes up the classic in the Eifel from P14. The fastest of the two 911 GT3 R fielded by Dinamic Motorsport lines up on the grid two positions behind.
In sunny conditions and temperatures of around 15 degrees Celsius, Porsche’s customer teams experienced difficulties in the Top Qualifying session. In the first segment, in which 17 drivers fought for the remaining grid places in the final shootout of the fastest cars, works driver Mathieu Jaminet from France and the Italian Matteo Cairoli made it into the top 20. They then handed their cars to their teammates Julien Andlauer from France (Toksport) and Thomas Preining from Austria (Dinamic). In contrast to the youngster Nico Menzel, however, the experienced duo was unable to qualify in the top 10 on the 25.378-kilometre combination of the Nordschleife and the Grand Prix circuit.
“Compliment to our teams TokSport and Dinamic, who put in a strong drive to fight for two of the four remaining grid positions in the shootout,” stated Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R. “We did everything in our power and we achieved a good placing in the Top Qualifying 2. Unfortunately, it confirmed that the gap to the top is still too big to compete at the very front. Now we have to work very closely with the organiser to reconcile this gap. The results so far don’t reflect our commitment and the quality of the drivers and teams.”
The No. 33 entry from Falken Motorsports tackles the race from P24, with the No. 44 car qualified on P27. The identical 911 GT3 R model campaigned by KCMG starts from position 26, with Dinamic Motorsport’s second 911 qualifying on P29. The title defender from Manthey did not take part in the final qualifying session. The No.1 “Grello” was relegated to the back of the first starting group after receiving a penalty due to an infringement under yellow on Thursday evening. For this reason, the team opted out of the Top Qualifying.
Quotes after the qualifying
Nico Menzel (Porsche 911 GT3 R #25): “We were only able to turn a few laps yesterday and this morning because of accidents, so the Top Qualifying wasn’t easy for me. Still, ninth place is good. In the top 10 and the fastest Porsche in the field – we can live with that. We have to wait to see what pace we can achieve over the distance. I think we still have some work ahead of us before the race begins. However, the conditions are not bad.”
Julien Andlauer (Porsche 911 GT3 R #27): “It was difficult to find a decent rhythm. I think I didn’t get the tyres up to the right temperature in the warm-up lap so the grip wasn’t ideal on my first flying lap. I slid around a lot and I struggled with constant oversteer. At my second attempt, I wanted to catch up but the tyres were already deteriorating. The chance to improve my time was gone.”
Thomas Preining (Porsche 911 GT3 R #28): “Matteo did a great job in the first attempt and got our car into the shootout. That was well deserved because, thanks to our team’s great effort, we made steady progress during the sessions. I think we did the best we could in the Top Qualifying – more wasn’t possible. Our goal is to advance through the field during the race. A top 10 result should be achievable – maybe even more.”
Qualifying result (SP9 class):
1. Björn Grossmann (CH), Simon Trummer (CH), Jonathan Hirschi (CH), Luca Ludwig (D), Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo20 (#26), octane 126, 8:09.469 minutes
2. Connor De Philippi (USA), Philipp Eng (A), Augusto Farfus (BR), Nick Yelloly (GB), BMW M4 GT3 (#99), Rowe Racing, 8:10.640 minutes
3. Axcil Jefferies (ZW), Jordan Pepper (GB), Michele Di Martino (D), Maximilian Hackländer (D), Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (#7), Konrad Motorsport, 8:10.788 minutes
9. Nico Menzel (D), Joachim Thyssen (D), Klaus Rader (D), Lars Kern (D), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#25), Huber Motorsport, 8:11.928 minutes
14. Julien Andlauer (F), Matt Campbell (AUS), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#27), Toksport WRT, 8:12.962 minutes
16. Christian Engelhart (D), Matteo Cairoli (I), Côme Ledogar (F), Thomas Preining (A), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#28), Dinamic Motorsport, 8:13.720 minutes
24. Jaxon Evans (NZ), Sven Müller (D), Patrick Pilet (F), Marco Seefried (D), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#33), Falken Motorsports, 8:13.098 minutes
26. Dennis Olsen (N), Josh Burdon (AUS), Nick Tandy (GB), Earl Bamber (NZ), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#18), KCMG, 8:14.541 minutes
27. Klaus Bachler (A), Alessio Picariello (B), Patrick Pilet (F), Martin Ragginger (A), Porsche 911 GT3 R (#44), Falken Motorsports, 8:15.132 minutes
29. Matteo Cairoli (I), Adrien de Leener (B), Frederik Schandorff (DK), Christian Engelhart (D) , Porsche 911 GT3 R (#29), Dinamic Motorsport, 8:17.786 minutes
36. Michael Christensen (DK), Kévin Estre (F), Frédéric Makowiecki (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B) , Porsche 911 GT3 R (#1), Manthey, DNS